TOM DUTTON, Distributor for Ford Motor Company in New Orleans, La.

Died 1 Dec. 1969 Distributor for Ford Motor Company in New Orleans, Louisiana; Son of Ida Monzingo and John Franklin Dutton; wife Constance. He once hired Elliott Rabb Whitman of San Antonio, Texas  to trace his family history for him.

 

Adoptee seeks Barksdale Field roots

  (Left) Newborn Mary Dutton and her adoptive father, Lt. Col. Tom Dutton, at Barksdale Field, January 1944.
(Bottom left) Toddler Mary Dutton and her adoptive parents, Tom Dutton and his wife, Mary Eleanor Dutton, after the war. Mary Eleanor Dutton died in 1952.
(Bottom right) Mary Dutton Urso and her adoptive father on her wedding day in the 1960s. Purchase Image

(Left) Newborn Mary Dutton and her adoptive father, Lt. Col. Tom Dutton, at Barksdale Field, January 1944. (Bottom left) Toddler Mary Dutton and her adoptive parents, Tom Dutton and his wife, Mary Eleanor Dutton, after the war. Mary Eleanor Dutton died in 1952. (Bottom right) Mary Dutton Urso and her adoptive father on her wedding day in the 1960s. / Courtesy photos/The Times
Written by
John Andrew Prime


Mary Urso today

Mary Urso today

To help

People who think they can help Mary Urso with her search for her birth parents at Barksdale Field in 1944 can reach her at (973) 255-0058 or through email MaryEDU@aol.com.

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Winter weather, a governor’s race, crashes of bombers and a visit from film star Mary Pickford captured front pages for Times readers in the first days of 1944, but the big news for two families on Barksdale Army Air Field was the birth of a young girl in the post hospital that Jan. 14.

For one family, that of newly promoted Lt. Col. Tom Whited Dutton, it was joyous. For the other, a nameless newly married enlisted member and his young wife who gave up their newborn girl for adoption, it was heartbreaking.

For that child, now 68-year-old mother and grandmother Mary Eleanor Dutton Urso of Arizona, it is distant history she would like to know better, starting with who her birth parents were and why they made such a sacrifice. It’s a question she hopes local readers, who include people who worked on the base in those closing days of World War II, can help answer.

The legalities of her adoption, handled by now-deceased local attorney E. Wayles Browne Sr., occurred over the course of 1944 and into 1945, just the wrong side of the threshold where state law seals adoption records, she said. The frustration to Urso is the fact she was adopted, which she learned of as a child, was no secret.

Proof is in the form of a photo “taken of me in 1945, probably just around the time my adoption was finalized, when I was about 13 months old,” she said. “It was placed in The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate around Valentine’s Day, 1945, because there was a caption, something about ‘the Duttons’ newly adopted daughter’ and a ‘sweet little Valentine,’ or something to that effect.”

The reason most often given by adoptees seeking information about their birth parents stems from the need for medical information.

“Were I younger and had I been adopted more recently than 1945, I would have been given access to my biological parents’ family health history,” she said. “It’s the first thing a new doctor always asks me for and never (fails) to send me home from the doctor’s visit in a foul mood. If the adoption were more recent, I would have been given access to ‘non-identifying’ information of parents: hair color, eye color, height, build, education level, ethnicity, etc.”

Submitted by Linda Holt Moorehead, Class of 1961